By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2014-09-25 14:57
Published: 2014-09-25 14:57
ADULT picture: (L to R) Jennifer Hite, Pageant creator, Contestants: Grady Womble, Rachel Wilson, Abby Strietelmeier, Ellie O’Connell, June Morsberger, KING Vasile Thompson, QUEEN Erin Averyt, Khalia Hood, Brittany Brettschneider, Lianne Avant, Josh Sickerman, 2013 Queen Amanda Miller, 2013 King Barrington Newton, Emcee Michael, Emcee Jay

The Mr & Ms Special Gwinnett County Pageant was established in 2012 by Jennifer Hite as her Girl Scout Gold Award project.  The pageant serves teens ages 13-19 and adults ages 20+ with disabilities.  Jennifer’s vision was to give Gwinnett County an event to showcase the special needs population and bring attention to these remarkable individuals.  

Jennifer’s conviction that “every one of the contestants is a winner” has set the precedence for each successive event.  Pam Hite, Jennifer’s mom, took over Directing the pageant, as Jennifer began her college career at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN.

SWEETHEART picture:  (L to R) Contestants:  John Malanoski & Shay Mickelson; KING Josh Sickerman & QUEEN Ellie O’Connell; Paul Tidwell & Anne Bourke

LEFT SWEETHEART picture:  (L to R) Contestants:  John Malanoski & Shay Mickelson; KING Josh Sickerman & QUEEN Ellie O’Connell; Paul Tidwell & Anne BourkeRIGHT TEEN picture: (L to R) Contestants:  “Boogie” Denson, KING James Kilgore, QUEEN Elizabeth Toth, FOUNDER: Jennifer Hite

July 26, 2014 was the 3rd annual pageant, spotlighting 19 individuals in 3 categories.  Pam partnered with Co-Director Mary Womble and Greater Atlanta Pathways to continue Jennifer’s legacy.  A Cultural Arts event within the GAP program, the pageant serves teens ages 13-19 and adults ages 20+ with disabilities.  There are three categories, TEEN, ADULT and SWEETHEART, with a Queen and King crowned in each.  Princess and Prince titles are awarded to the remaining contestants as each becomes a member of the current year’s Royal Court.  Throughout their reigning year, the Royal Court participates in parades, public appearances, community service and community awareness events.  Their duties include educating and bringing awareness about the Special Needs population to Gwinnett County.

Some of the 2014 Royal Court’s planned events are:

Gwinnett Brave’s Public Appearance
Lawrenceville Music on the Lawn
Road Atlanta Public Appearance
Nutcracker performance attendance
Nursing Home singing and Cookie delivery
Mt. Carmel Valentine’s Day Dance
Sunshine & Smiles, (window wash and gas pumping)
Duluth Barefoot in the Park outing
Dacula Memorial Day Parade participation
Medieval Times Dinner Theatre public appearance
Ice Skating celebration
4th annual Pageant attendance & public appearance